Sign up to the TDN daily edition

Enter your details below to subscribe to the TDN Australia & NZ daily edition.

Will to win gives Avantage the advantage

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

A rich serving of talent and a single-minded approach makes Avantage (NZ) (Fastnet Rock) a hard filly to deny. Last season’s top 2-year-old showed that in spades when she successfully opened her spring campaign at Hastings.

She produced a determined performance to triumph in Saturday’s G3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail S., at the expense of the highly-regarded Xpression (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}).

“She really toughed it out, she’s a champion filly and she’s come back really well,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “I’ve talked up the second horse all week, she’s a really serious filly.

“She’s not there yet in the coat, but that’s what good horses do – they get to the line with their head in front no matter what.” – Jamie Richards.

“Avantage was half a stride slow and she had to be used up a bit early and that told in the finish. She’s not there yet in the coat, but that’s what good horses do – they get to the line with their head in front no matter what.”

Successful in the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S., in the autumn, Avantage’s future programme has yet to be locked in, although the attraction of the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Christchurch will be hard to ignore.

“We haven’t made any firm plans yet,” Richards said. “We’ll sit down and have a think about it. There’s a few options, but I think she’s more likely to go to the South Island for the Guineas.”

“There’s a few options, but I think she’s more likely to go to the South Island for the Guineas.” – Jamie Richards.

Te Akau principal David Ellis went to $210,000 to secure Avantage, who was bred by Willy and Karen Calder, out of The Oaks Stud’s draft at Karaka.

She is a daughter of the Zabeel (NZ) mare Asavant (NZ), who won up to Listed level.

Asavant is out of the G3 White Robe Lodge H., winner Pins ‘N’ Needles (NZ) (Pins), who is also the dam of the G1 Centenary Sprint winner D B Pin (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}).

Avantage as a yearling

Emily a winner

Meanwhile in the South Island on Saturday, a gallant front-running performance from Emily Margaret (NZ) (Pins) saw her repel the home stretch challenge of the favourite Wekaforce (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}).

“I thought that Wekaforce was the one to beat and they really set down to a ding-dong battle in the home straight,” said Kevin Hughes, who prepares the winner with his wife Pam.

“I know how tough my filly is so I was hoping she would see it out as she loves a scrap. I think that should just about seal a place in the 1000 Guineas for her so we can take our time and pick a path for her.”

Emily Margaret was purchased out of Trelawney Stud’s draft at Karaka for $55,000 by part-owner Roger Findlay and is out of the Group 2 winner and Group 1 placegetter Seven Schillings (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}).

Emily Margaret as a yearling